Equipped with valuable insights and ideas for a sustainable future for Southeast Asia, Mapúa University Information Technology (IT) students Tristan Gabriel Bal and Jay Mark Butalon emerged as one of the best teams in the recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Data Science Explorers competition.

Bal and Butalon were hailed first runners-up in the national finals, which was held last October 25 at the SAP Philippines office in Taguig City.

“It was absolutely astonishing and surprising. We didn’t even think of getting through to the national finals. We are so proud of this achievement,” Bal said.

Co-organized by the ASEAN Foundation and multinational software company SAP, the analytics competition aimed to promote awareness and enhance the appreciation of the ASEAN community among the youth through digital literacy.

Participants presented data-driven insights which highlight issues in ASEAN across six United Nation Sustainable Development Goals, namely good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, and sustainable cities and communities.

Dubbed as Team “D’Papis,” Bal and Butalon focused on graduates’ degree and job mismatch, an issue under decent work and economic growth.

“We wanted our topic to be applicable to us, students,” explains Bal, who, together with Butalon, was mentored by Professor Grace Intal.

A total of 10 teams were chosen to compete in the national finals, six of which were from Mapúa.